The Philadelphia Flyers are known for their rough style of play. Their Broad Street Bullies label continues to be well earned, even today. In their previous five seasons, they finished in the top two in total penalty minutes four times.
Craig Berube was no stranger to the sin bin as a player, but the new Flyers head coach feels that it’s time for this franchise to change.
Philadelphia suffered a 5-2 defeat to Detroit last night with the Red Wings’ first three goals coming on the power play. That’s dropped the Flyers to 1-5-0 this season after they’ve accumulated 118 penalty minutes in just six contests.
“We have to stop taking penalties,” Berube said, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer’s Sam Carchidi. “It’s been an issue in this organization for too long. It’s got to get better.”
There isn’t a player that you can point to as the sole source of the problem in Philadelphia. They have eight guys with at least six penalty minutes through six games. To put that into context, Jonathan Ericsson leads the Red Wings with six penalty minutes.
This isn’t a matter of the Flyers’ eagerness to drop the gloves either. They are in the middle of the pack in that regard with four fights, according to Hockey Fights.
At the same time, the Flyers have collected 39 minors while the next highest team has 26. That’s put them in a tie for the most power-play goals allowed despite their middle-of-the-road 78.8% penalty kill.
Their problems can’t be exclusively blamed on this one issue though. After all, Philadelphia hasn’t scored more than two goals in a single contest this season. Getting out of this rut will require improvement in a number of different areas, but it looks like Berube wants to see change in one that has been identified with the Flyers for a very long time.
After Tuesday’s loss to the Jets — the Blues’ fourth in their last six games — head coach Ken Hitchcock said his club has “got to play harder than this” and “got to compete at a lot higher level than this.”
He then added “it’s up to us to fix it.”
Well, help is on the way.
On Wednesday, the Blues activated forward Jaden Schwartz off injured reserve, after he missed the last 49 contests with a fractured left ankle. Schwartz is expected to be in the lineup on Friday when the Blues take on the Panthers in Florida.
The 23-year-old should provide an immediate boost to the lineup. Schwartz had four points in seven games before getting hurt, and that came on the heels of a successful ’14-15 campaign in which he posted career highs in goals (28) and points (63).
The Blues’ first-round pick in 2010 (14th overall), Schwartz is a 17-18 TOI per night guy, so he’ll be a big presence almost immediately. His return also inches the team back to full health, though there’s still a ways to go — Alex Pietrangelo and Jake Allen are still week-to-week with knee and lower-body injuries, while Steve Ott is out until late February following hamstrings surgery.
Related: Armstrong wants Blues to get healthy before any trades are made
You can add Jussi Jokinen to the list of Florida Panthers livid with Justin Abdelkader‘s hit on Aleksander Barkov.
“I’m very upset,” Jokinen said, per the Florida Sun-Sentinel. “I don’t know if I’m too emotional because that’s my best friend on the team. It looked really dangerous.”
Barkov was knocked woozy by a big Abdelkader check during Detroit’s 3-0 win over the Panthers on Monday. The hit forced the young Finn from the game, and also forced him to miss yesterday’s contest in Buffalo.
Abdelkader wasn’t fined or suspended for the hit and, according to the Sun-Sentinel, the NHL’s Department of Player Safety didn’t contact him at all.
It’s also worth pointing out that Abdelkader wasn’t penalized at the time of the incident.
But that didn’t stop Nick Bjugstad and head coach Gerard Gallant from calling the hit “cheap,” with Gallant suggesting Abdelkader left his feet to make the hit, and caught Barkov in the jaw.
Jokinen put the onus on the league to wipe out checks of this nature.
“There are too many hits like that an no suspensions,” he explained. “Fans want to watch Barkov, not those guys. The league has to do a better job of taking those hits out of the game.”
Florida and Detroit next play on Mar. 19, in case you’re wondering.
When the Colorado Avalanche came out of the All-Star break, they were presented with a four-game home stand and a great chance to build an even bigger playoff cushion.
Last night, that home stand ended with a 3-1 loss to Vancouver. In the four games, the only point they managed came in a 4-3 OT loss to Dallas. Colorado’s still in a playoff spot, but only by two points over Minnesota, which has played three fewer games.
“Unfortunately for us, we had four games at home (and) a good opportunity to pick up some big wins, and we didn’t do it,” head coach Patrick Roy told the Denver Post.
The loss to Vancouver was painful for a number of reasons. First, the Canucks are one of the teams chasing Colorado for a wild-card spot; they’re now just four points back of Colorado, with three games in hand. Second, the Avs couldn’t convert on a pair of 5-on-3 power plays, which always hurts. Third, the Avs trailed 2-1 going into the third and couldn’t muster much of a push. In fact, it was Vancouver that scored the only goal in the final 20 minutes. And the Canucks had to play the period without two key players, Alex Edler and Brandon Sutter.
“I’m looking around the league, and everybody goes through tough times,” said Roy. “It’s not a period of time when you feel sorry for yourself. You have to find solutions and ways to bounce back.”
The Avs kick off a three-game road trip Thursday in Ottawa, with stops in Detroit and Buffalo on Friday and Sunday, respectively.
Jaromir Jagr keeps getting it done. Because of that, he’s on pace to speed up various all-time ranks and lock down milestone after milestone.
He recently hit his 1,600th game played, but if that doesn’t do it for you, check out goal 739 from No. 68 in the video above.
Whether you deem it a “beer league” goal like Sportsnet does or not, it’s impressive that he’s still such a reliable scorer for the Florida Panthers, who throttled the Buffalo Sabres last night (even if Evander Kane won three fights).
That tally leaves Jagr two goals behind Brett Hull for third all-time in goals at 741.
The seemingly ageless one would have a fitting person to chase if he then eyes the second all-time goalscorer, as Gordie Howe defied age himself in racking up 801.